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Fijian community in Cook Islands provided land to plant fruit and vegetables
4:58 pm GMT+12, 31/03/2020, Cook Islands

Tupapa MP George Maggie has arranged a block of land for the Fijian community in Cook Islands to plant on.
 
This is to assist them during this Covid-19 pandemic, at a time when they face job losses, reduced hours and low income. They can use the land to farm for subsistence purposes only.
 
Fijian Association vice-president Savenaca Tukitoba said the planting block, provided by a local land-owner, would be a win-win for all Fijians and everyone on the island. “The land is not ours of course, but whatever we will harvest from there would be sources of energy for us all, for sure we will be sharing whatever we harvest from there to every one especially for us who are very far away from home.
 
“To me it is a sign of respect and being deeply emerged in cultural and Christian values too that they have given us a piece of land to use for planting as land is sacred here in the Cook Islands.”
 
Tukitoba said the MP’s support showed the country’s Pasifika connections. Farming would help sustain livelihoods and, for Fijians who had lost work or had their hours reduced, ensure they did not remain idle at home.
 
“This will also help teach children of our traditional ways of planting, save the cost of having to clean the idle land and to ensure the it does not become a dumping ground for waste and to minimise mosquito breeding sites because of the overgrown grasses.
 
“And our intentions are clear, the landowner can help themselves whenever they want.”
 
Maggie said seeds would be supplied, such as spring onions, lettuce and cabbage. He called on MPs around Rarotonga to provide or assist in giving more blocks to expat workers.
 
In Tupapa, he would be looking for another two blocks for the Samoan and Filipino communities, who might wish to do the same. “I think they want to plant, the foreigners, but they are ashamed to ask. I really want them to plant, so for those who find it hard to plant give a piece of land for planting.”
 
He said he has been thinking of this for a long time.T he crops would be for the benefit of the whole island.
 
The Tupapa MP is also cutting some long plastic pipes, for those who have less space at home to do some backyard farming. The pipes are filled with soil and vegetables can be planted for small backyard farming purposes.
 
Farmer Danny Mataroa said farmers will need assistance from government in terms of bulldosing and clearing the land for farming.
 
“It is good that government is looking at a wage subsidy but that’s just short term, we need to look at food security for the long term,” he said.

SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS NEWS/PACNEWS


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